3 Rules You Should Know When Planning Social Media Marketing in China

3 Rules You Should Know When Planning Social Media Marketing in China
By Karen Keung

China has the largest population of smart phone users in the world, and it’s still growing frantically. The variety of choices of social media platforms can be overwhelming for global brands. Besides wide-ranging social networks like Weibo (Twitter-like), there are several niche platforms where people gravitate towards their own specific social circles. Selecting the right platform for your brand from the pool of social networks is as vital as learning about whether technologies of a platform can facilitate marketing campaigns. Here are three rules you should know about when planning social media marketing strategies in China.

Rule #1: Find the platform that matches your campaign style

Over a thousand brands and businesses have a corporate account on Sina Weibo, the most popular social microblogging platform with 503 million users. Today, most of them have encountered the bottleneck of creating engaging and original content for their followers. Early this year, Sina Weibo introduced the promoted news feed. However, the public received it with indifference calling it irrelevant, criticizing its poor visual design of pushed ads. In the meantime, promoted news feed banners are warmly welcomed by members on a vertical social network called Douban, an online community for people to share reviews of books, movies and music. Based on the site’s feature, Douban curates ad banners that match the interests of its users and are aligned with the site’s visual style.

Rule #2: Thrive on existing user behavior 

After segmenting target users, it is important to naturally encounter them in daily life. When Listerine launched Natural Green Tea flavor to the Chinese market, instead of distributing educational oral health advertisements on every social network, it partnered with Jiepang, a location based social platform which is famous for having large groups of socially active young foodies and tastemakers at tier one cities. Inspired by the idea that Chinese young people love taking pictures before they eat, Listerine got a custom branded foodie filter on Jiepang. With only a $60K USD budget, the campaign gained over 846,000 branded user generated posts which created 2.54 million earned media impressions. According to Listerine, “it was 720 times more cost-effective than the average CPM of TV in China tier one cities.” The monthly sales increased 23% in the campaign period.

Rule #3: Make sure the social platform you choose is technologically innovative

Innovative technology of a partnered platform enables brands to deliver one-of-a-kind campaigns. Upon the success of the Listerine campaign, Jiepang is partnering with Neutrogena to introduce the first branded smart filter. The filter shows location, temperature, UV rating, time and solar rays of consumer-posted photos. Neutrogena leverages the strength of both Jiepang and Sina Weibo to conduct cross platform promotion. Jiepang is known as a high quality user generated content-based community where people demonstrate their desirable lifestyle through pictures and check-ins, whereas Sina Weibo has a huge circulation of content of various kinds. Through Jiepang’s open API (application programming interface), pictures of smart filters can be accessed on Sina Weibo, which doubles the exposure of the campaign.

Karen Keung is Public Relations Manager at Jiepang.